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Recipe for an editor:
Take a personal hatred of authors,
Mix this with a fiendish delight
In refusing all efforts of genius
And maiming all poets on sight.
The city editor of a great New York daily was known in the newspaper
world as a martinet and severe disciplinarian. Some of his caustic and
biting criticisms are classics. Once, however, the tables were turned
upon him in a way that left him speechless for days.
A reporter on the paper wrote an article that the city editor did not
approve of. The morning of publication this reporter drifted into the
office and encountered his chief, who was in a white heat of anger.
Carefully suppressing the explosion, however, the boss started in with
ominous and icy words:
"Mr. Blank, I am not going to criticize you for what you have written.
On the other hand, I am profoundly sorry for you. I have watched your
work recently, and it is my opinion, reached after calm and
dispassionate observation, that you are mentally unbalanced. You are
insane. Your mind is a wreck. Your friends should take you in hand. The
very kindest suggestion I can make is that you visit an alienist and
place yourself under treatment. So far you have shown no sign of
violence, but what the future holds for you no one can tell. I say this
in all kindness and frankness. You are discharged."
The reporter walked out of the office and wandered up to Bellevue
Hospital. He visited the insane pavilion, and told the resident surgeon
that there was a suspicion that he was not all right mentally and asked
to be examined. The doctor put him through the regular routine and then
"Right as a top."
"Sure?" asked the reporter. "Will you give me a certificate to that
effect?" The doctor said he would and did. Clutching the certificate
tightly in his hand the reporter entered the office an hour later,
walked up to the city editor, handed it to him silently, and then
"Now you go get one."
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